Miigwetch/Thank you for coming to Ajijaak on Turtle Island today!

 
 Credit Richard Termine

Credit Richard Termine

 

As you experience this story, please note the perspective we are telling this story from. I encourage us all to invoke our senses and open our hearts as if gathered around a community fire with stars above as we await an oral story to be heard.

Follow Ajijaak on her migration on Turtle Island (North America) and notice how she learns wisdom from Indigenous peoples of past, present, and future. The crane is a metaphor and sacred symbol to help us mark the survival of living cultures still thriving today along the fly-a-way. Native nations assist us in reflecting how we are taking care and taking action for the environment.

Can you imagine yourself being an Indigenous/Native American youth seeing yourself for the first time on a theater stage? And, then, can you imagine having a story be embedded in the world you exist in?  The art of giving teachings is threaded throughout and is subtle, and comical, as it humbly unfolds. Ritual, shape-shifting, and ceremony are invoked as storytelling shifts from I to WE, as all living things become the tellers and listeners of place and land. This story is woven with love and a gift to the community. You, regardless of racial identity, sexual orientation, gender, age, or religion, are included in the great hoop of art making. I'm grateful to be a steward of this story and am incredibly grateful to people on and off the stage whose lived experience has been invaluable to this process. To my mentors, family, and friends, a BIG MIIGWETCH for believing in my leadership to foster a charge for new ways to make theater in this world, at this time.

Aho.

-Ty Defoe (Giizhig), Writer, Co-Director, and Performer

2018_02_07_Ajijaak photo by Theo Cote 17_preview.jpg

Ajijaak on Turtle Island tells the story of Ajijaak, a young whooping crane. Separated from her family in a Tar Sands fire caused by the monstrous Mishepeshu, Ajijaak must make her first migration from Wood Buffalo, Canada, down to the Gulf Coast on her own, finding her voice and a family through the interconnectedness of all of creation.

Ajijaak begins her travels with a medicine bundle, given to her by her parents, as her guide. She encounters deer, buffalo, coyote, and turtles as well as communities of people from Ojibwe, Ho-Chunk, Lakota, and Cherokee Nations, living in balance with their environments. These people share with Ajijaak prayers, songs, and dances that celebrate life on earth and help Ajijaak find the meaning and strength of her own song.

It is with this song that Ajijaak must restore balance to Turtle Island and return to Mishepeshu to sleep.

Ajijaak’s story puts forward visions from indigenous communities to reach the next generation of storytellers and change-makers. All of our environment is interconnected. Life’s energy burbles throughout all aspects of our world. Ajijaak on Turtle Island brings community together through puppetry, traditional dances, animations, and kites and reveals the symbiotic relationship between cranes and Native American/Indigenous people, inspiring the next generation of eco-champions. 

The world premiere presentation of Ajijaak on Turtle Island was hosted at La MaMa in NYC on February 8, 2018.

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TRADITIONAL DANCES

Fancy Shawl Dance
Henu Josephine Tarrant

Hoop Dance and Crane Dance
Ty Defoe

Grass Dance
Sheldon Raymore

Men's Traditional Dance
Tony Enos

MUSIC

Bird Clan Song
Lyrics and Music by Ty Defoe, inspired by melodies of the Anishinaabe Nation
Performed by Ty Defoe

Birth
Lyrics and Music by Dawn Avery/Larry Mitchell
Performed by Wen Jeng and Cast

Shawl Dance Song
Lyric and Music by Kevin Tarrant
Performed by Kevin Tarrant & Travis Richardson

Medicine Bundle
Lyrics and Music by Dawn Avery
Performed by Henu Josie Tarrant and Cast

You Are Safe In All Directions (Flute Solo)  
Music by Ty Defoe
Performed by Ty Defoe

Deer Medicine
Lyrics and Music by Dawn Avery
Performed by Dawn Avery

Hey Yana Song/ Deca Flight
Lyrics and Music by Dawn Avery
Performed by Henu Josie Tarrant and Cast

Buffalo Song
Lyrics and Music by Kevin Tarrant     
Performed by Kevin Tarrant & Travis Richardson

Grass Dance Song  
Lyrics and Music by Kevin Tarrant  
Performed by Kevin Tarrant & Travis Richardson

Women’s Corn Song
Lyrics and Music by Dawn Avery
Developed by Joan Henry with the support of Deb Echohawk & Pawnee Nation Tribal Council & linguists   
Performed by Joan Henry

We Are Dancing, We are Singing
Lyrics and Music by Dawn Avery
Performed by Henu Josie Tarrant & Tony Enos 

Men’s Traditional
Lyrics and Music by Kevin Tarrant
Performed by Kevin Tarrant & Travis Richardson

Crab Upbeat Music
Music by Dawn Avery
Performed by Cast

Umbay Omaa
Lyrics by Ty Defoe and Dawn Avery, Music by Dawn Avery/Larry Mitchell        
Performed by Wen Jeng and Cast

Heal Broken Wing (Flute Solo) 
Music by Ty Defoe
Performed by Ty Defoe

Nibs Song, Water Song
Sourced from Grandmother Water Walkers, led by Doreen Day & Sharon Day
Performed by Henu Josie Tarrant and Joan Henry

Ho Ho Watanay Lullaby
Lyrics and Music by Dawn Avery
Performed by Henu Josie Tarrant & Cast

Snake Battle
Music by Larry Mitchell
Performed by Larry Mitchell

We Honor You
Lyrics and Music by Kevin Tarrant
Performed by Kevin Tarrant & Travis Richardson

Ajijjack Rise
Lyrics and Music by Dawn Avery
Performed by Dawn Every, Joan Henry and Cast

Round Dance Finale
Lyric and Music by Kevin Tarrant
Performed by Kevin Tarrant & Travis Richardson

>Back-track Production and Recording by Larry Mitchell<